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Die Grabplatte des Plocker Suffragans Piotr Lubart in der Marienkirche zu Krakau und die Frage der Bestattungen von Weihbischöfen

Walanus, Wojciech ; Walczak, Marek

In: Roháček, Jiří (Hrsg.): Sborník příspěvků ze zasedáni k problematice sepulkrálních památek, pořádaných Ústavem dějin umění AV ČR, v. v. i., v letech 2008 - 2010. Praha 2011, pp. 477-500 (Epigraphica & sepulcralia ; 3)

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Translation of abstract (English)

Conservation work on the floor near the Baroque altar of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary in St Mary’s Church in Cracow led to the discovery of a partly damaged sandstone tomb slab. The bas-relief shows a figure dressed in bishop’s robes. Some of his pontificals (the pectoral cross and the ring) were cast in metal; metal ornaments also dressed the escutcheon enclosing the bishop’s arms in the lower part of the tomb. The panel had a candelabra-decorated border, partly preserved along the vertical right side.

An analysis of the inscriptions in Szymon Starowolski’s Monumenta Sarmatarum (1655) suggests that the memorial slab refers to Piotr Lubart, also known as Aurifaber, doctor of theology and professor of the Cracow Academy, suffragan bishop of Płock (from 1514), who died in Cracow on 21 December 1530. A detailed account of his funeral was written by his step-brother Stanisław Lubart. Stanisław’s note can be found inscribed in Johannes Stoeffler and Jacob Pflaum’s Almanach (Ulm 1499, the book is in the Jagiellonian Library). The description of the spot in which the body was buried (‘in ecclesia S. Marie sub Crucifixo: circa altare Annuntiacionis S. Marie in dextra parte ex opposito ciborii’) matches the find. As Stanisław Lubart’s note suggests one of the main reference points for the bishop choosing his final resting place was the monumental rood in the chancel arcade, an impressive reminder of the Saviour’s triumph over death. Similarly, the nearness of the tabernacle with the Holy Sacrament and an altar dedicated to the Virgin Mary must have been of importance to the pious bishop.

In the article Piotr Lubart’s choice of St Mary’s as a place of his burial is put in the context of burials of auxiliary bishops. In the pre-Tridentine era these posts were usually filled by members of religious orders. The religious were then buried in their monastic or conventual churches. In the early 16th century the practice of burying suffragan bishops in their diocesan churches had not yet become a custom; at any rate, Piotr Lubart could not be buried at Płock. Earlier that year Płock Cathedral had been gutted by a fire.

The composition of the panel – a figure in a rectangular frame – is common to the sepulchral art of the 15th and 16th century. The bas-relief represents late-Gothic tradition with the characteristically smooth folds and a stylized, parallel arrangement of the fold ridges at the left leg. The artist was obviously inspired by the so-called Parallelfaltenstil, which made its appearance after 1510 and became popular in Southern Germany. The candelabra ornament of the panel border was also quite common in the early Renaissance.

The tomb of Piotr Lubart is the only extant tomb slab of an auxiliary bishop of the pre-Tridentine era on the territory of the historical Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Its discovery demonstrates that auxiliary bishops could be commemorated upon their death in a manner which did not differ from that which was applied in the case of ordinary bishops (i.e. their tombs were marked by stone panels executed in relief, with refined iconography and ornamentation).

Document type: Book Section
TranslatorZatorski, Tadeusz
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2015 13:50
Faculties / Institutes: Research Project, Working Group > Individuals
DDC-classification: Plastic arts, numismatics, ceramics, metalwork
Controlled Subjects: Aurifaber, Piotr, Marienkirche <Krakau>, Grabplatte
Subject (classification): Sculpture
Countries/Regions: East Europe
Collection: ART-Dok Central and Eastern Europe